Quickly Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt With This Strategy

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Oh, student loan debt! Isn’t it a fun subject? 

For most of us, it is not a fun subject. It’s annoying, antagonizing, and down-right a pain in the butt. 

The good news is that the quicker you pay it off, the faster it will become a distant memory. 

Easier said than done, right?

Depending on the magnitude of your student loan debt, you can have it paid off in the next few years with the right plan. 

Here’s our 4 step strategy to paying off that student loan debt, and fast. 

Rationalize Your Debt Situation

The first thing you need to do is rationalize the debt. 

Just think: would you be where you are today without taking out those loans to pay for school? Would you have the skills that your loans afforded you to learn at a college, before you took out your loans? 

For many of us, the answer is no

The loans helped you to get to where you are, and now, you have to put in the work to pay them back. 

Fortunately, the knowledge, skills, and experience that the loans provided for you will help you to pay them off. 

Hustle More, Spend Less

The second part of our strategy has to do with the amount of work you put into it. During the time it takes you to pay off your loans, you’ll need to either work a high salary job or string together a bunch of side gigs to make enough to pay off your loans and still survive as a human being. 

You know what you’re good at, so put your skills to work and make the most from them. 

On the other side of the coin, you’re going to need to spend much, much less than you make. 

So it’s important to not let your lifestyle come anywhere close to exceeding your income. This means lots of home cooked meals, cheap living, and a frugal budget that you're religious about. 

Pay More Than The Minimum

The true secret to paying off your loans quick is to pay much more than the minimum. 

The minimum is tempting. You won’t get in trouble for paying the minimum from a lender standpoint, but you will be kicking yourself in 8 years when you’re still paying off student loans, because you refused to pay higher than the minimum. 

Just a couple hundred dollars extra each month will help you out, extensively.

For example, let’s say your minimum each month is $550. Over a 12 month period, you’ll pay $6,600. But what if you extend that to $650 per month for 12 months? That comes out to $7,800 for the year. 

Since you’re making much more than you need to live, then maybe you can afford to pay $750 each month, which will help you pay off $9,000 per year. 

Receiving a bonus in the future? Put all of it towards your student loans. Getting a raise? Put the extra amount towards your student loans. 

It’s simple. It just takes dedication and commitment. 

Eligible for Student Loan Forgiveness? 

Finally, you should figure out if you’re eligible for any type of student loan forgiveness program. 

There are Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs that allow you to skip paying off some of your debt by working or participating in nonprofits, and other public service opportunities for a specific amount of time. There are also benefits that can be set up by your employer that will help you pay off your loans.

There are hundreds of thousands of students in America with student loan debt just like you. See our guide to how student loans affect credit scores.

Written on June 10, 2016

Self Lender is a venture-backed startup that helps people build credit and savings. Comments? Questions? Send us a note at hello@selflender.com.

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